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Autumn 2014

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The S&P 500 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average both notched record highs in the third quarter, only to reverse course in late September as concerns regarding the wind-down of the Federal Reserve Bank (“Fed”) policy and global growth weighed on stocks. Six years removed from the collapse or bailout of a multitude of mainstay U.S. and Global Institutions, “muscle memory” reminds investors to proceed with caution in the fall. With major indices tagging psychologically, albeit not necessarily fundamentally important levels in September, the level of caution is perhaps higher than the past few years. Traditional fixed income assets, meanwhile, continue to provide lackluster cash flows that are in most cases disappointing to investors. The downside of Fed stimulus (low rates) is that quality corporate bonds and government debt are offering one-half to one-third of the income they typically provide in a more robust economic environment. As we’ll address later in this report, this puts both retirees and fiduciaries in a difficult spot as they attempt to make sound asset allocation decisions.

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